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Understanding the Earth's dynamics, composition, and environment is accomplished through an interdisciplinary curricula including geology, geography, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and soil science.

Opportunities for careers in the geosciences have never been better. Areas of environmental science, petroleum, mining, water and land resources, volcanology, paleontology, and glacial geology offer rewarding careers with a completed bachelor’s degree. Many students continue study at the graduate level.

Geology Major

Curricula requirements include a departmental core of 45 credits, including year-long sequences in calculus, chemistry, and physics, as well as computer science.

A typical first year for all geology majors includes physical geology, the Earth through time, and year-long sequences in English, mathematics, and chemistry.

Geology Minor

A minor in Geology consists of at least 18 credits of geology courses selected in consultation with a Department of Geosciences adviser. Selected geography and soil science courses may be substituted for geology courses.

Environmental Geology Minor

As environmental stewardship becomes an increasingly important aspect of all career paths, the Environmental Geology minor complements and enhances a wide range of majors. Students interested in the Earth and the environment are invited to consider this rewarding and challenging minor. Geology majors may not minor in Environmental Geology.

Major Requirements

Major: Geology

Degree Type: B.A. or B.S.
Required Degree Credits to Graduate: 122

General Education Requirements

First Year Experience (F):
UNIV 189Skills For Academic Success (Students transferring in 24 or more credits do not need to take UNIV 189.)1
Communication (C):
ENGL 110College Composition I3
ENGL 120College Composition II3
ENGL 324Writing in the Sciences3
COMM 110Fundamentals of Public Speaking3
Quantitative Reasoning (R):
MATH 165Calculus I4
Science & Technology (S):
The 10 credits required in the Science and Technology category will be fulfilled with requirements of the major.10
Humanities & Fine Arts (A): Select from current general education list6
Social & Behavioral Sciences (B): Select from current general education list6
Wellness (W): Select from current general education list2
Cultural Diversity (D): Select from current general education list
Global Perspectives (G):
GEOL 105Physical Geology3
Total Credits41

College Requirements

Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree – An additional 6 credits in Humanities or Social Sciences*

Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree – An additional 12 credits Humanities and Social Sciences* and proficiency at the second year level in a modern foreign language.


 Humanities and Social Sciences may be fulfilled by any course having the following prefix: ADHM, ANTH, ARCH, ART, CJ, CLAS, COMM, ECON, ENGL, FREN, GEOG, GERM, HDFS, HIST, LA, LANG, MUSC, PHIL, POLS, PSYC, RELS, SOC, SPAN, THEA, WGS, or any course from the approved list of general education courses in humanities and social sciences (general education categories A and B). These credits must come from outside the department of the student’s major.

Major Requirements

General Education Requirements40
Science and Mathematics College Requirements6-12
Geology Core Requirements
Students must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA in the geology core requirements.
GEOG 455Introduction to Geographic Information Systems4
GEOL 105
Physical Geology
and Physical Geology Lab
GEOL 106
The Earth Through Time
and The Earth Through Time Lab
Select one of the following:2
Lake Superior Field Course
Black Hills Field Course
Field Experience
GEOL 350
GEOL 303
Invertebrate Paleontology
and Paleontology Field Course
GEOL 410Sedimentology/Stratigraphy4
GEOL 412Geomorphology3
GEOL 420
GEOL 421
and Mineralogy Laboratory
GEOL 422Petrology3
GEOL 423Petrography1
GEOL 450Field Geology3
GEOL 457Structural Geology4
GEOL 491Seminar (Junior Year)1
GEOL 491Seminar (Senior Year)1
SOIL 444Soil Genesis and Survey3
Related Required Courses
Chemistry: Select one of the following sequences:8
Sequence A:
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Laboratory
Sequence B:
Principles of Chemistry I
and Principles of Chemistry Laboratory I
Principles of Chemistry II
and Principles of Chemistry Laboratory II
MATH 165Calculus I4
MATH 166Calculus II4
Physics: Select one of the following sequences:8-10
Sequence A:
College Physics I
and College Physics I Laboratory
College Physics II
and College Physics II Laboratory
Sequence B:
University Physics I
and University Physics I Laboratory
University Physics II
and University Physics II Laboratory
Skills: Select one of the following:3-4
Visual BASIC
Computer Science I
Computing Fundamentals I
Degree Requirements: Potential of 13 credits to reach 12213
Total Credits122-131

Program notes

  • Except for courses offered only as pass/fail grading, no course may be taken Pass/Fail.
  • Majors planning on graduate studies should be aware that a summer field camp course may be required for graduate admission. This course is recommended to be taken during the summer following the junior or senior year. Information on field camp courses and a small departmental scholarship to support these studies may be obtained from an adviser.